Creed II (2018)

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Critic Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.

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Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family's past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what's worth fighting for, and discover that nothing's more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can't escape your history.

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Cast

Michael B. Jordan
as Adonis Johnson
Sylvester Stallone
as Rocky Balboa
Dolph Lundgren
as Ivan Drago
Phylicia Rashad
as Mary Anne Creed
Florian Munteanu
as Vitor Drago

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Critic Reviews for Creed II

All Critics (245) | Top Critics (41)

Creed II fits the mold of every Rocky sequel-competent, entertaining, and a little passionless

Dec 21, 2018 | Full Review…

There's... so much to enjoy in Creed II.

Dec 6, 2018 | Full Review…

Ryan Coogler, having gone on to bigger and bigger things, steps aside and lets relative newcomer Steven Caple, Jr. do the job of mixing the beats of Rocky III and Rocky IV into a smooth groove for the son of Apollo Creed (Michael B. Jordan).

Nov 30, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

It is a solid movie that further cements Jordan as a star, and that's mostly because of how he portrays Donnie's personal development.

Nov 28, 2018 | Full Review…
Observer
Top Critic

The film simmers before it explodes, and it often, it maintains the slow burn for a moment too long in the quieter moments between family members. But when Caple really lets "Creed II" run wild, it's breathtaking.

Nov 27, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The whole thing just ... works.

Nov 25, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Creed II

½

Maybe a shade less quality as the first but despite the nostalgia filled material from ROcky 4, it is satisfying and entertaining. Jordan and Stallone are still a great combo and Dolph Lundgren makes the most of his screen time. A feel good movie for sure! 12-16-2018

Christopher Oakley
Christopher Oakley

Super Reviewer

The first Creed was an outright knockout, rebooting a troubled franchise and introducing us to new characters, while redeeming lackluster sequels and having some of the best performances of that year. I am pleased to say that the follow up is of comparable quality. Creed II acts as both a sequel to the previous entry and develops Rocky IV a bit more with Ivan Drago's son challenging Adonis Creed to a match. The themes of sons redeeming their fathers, and revenge vs forgiveness loom large in this solidly directed sequel. Steven Caple Jr. rises to the challenge and while he does not have the finesse of Ryan Coogler, he more than holds his own. Creed II isn't as focused as its predecessor and certainly follows the rhythm of a Rocky sequel, but more ably than many of those. Michael B. Jordan is a household name in 2018, and he infuses a lot of emotion and pain in this role, without resorting to angst. I'd argue that his Adonis Creed is his best character, and he fills the gloves well. I didn't care for Tessa Thompson last time around, but in this outing she becomes more than a love interest and is as vital to the picture's heart as the two main male leads. She has some of the best scenes in the film. Dolph Lundgren returns to his most iconic role and his interplay with his son (Florian Munteanu) also reveals a depth to his character that Rocky IV denied him. In fact, I absolutely love how this movie redeems what was a cheesy, propaganda-laden sequel into a traumatic moment in the lives of these characters. And of course, Sylvester Stallone knows how to pull on our heartstrings. His Obi-Wan Kenobi to Creed's Skywalker shtick still works, and you genuinely buy his worry about Adonis following his father's path to a bloody death in the ring, and why he feels complicit - even if we know that genre films such as this usually end well for the protagonist. Stallone has the right amount of humor and grace to work a role like this, and if this is indeed his last time out as the former Italian Stallion, it was a hell of a sendoff. Overall, Creed II is a worthy sequel that almost captures the magic of the original. The fights are brutal, but they serve a purpose to the narrative. This is prime popcorn entertainment with a bit of craft and strong performances, the kind of picture that used to fill cinemas in previous decades. I look forward to more, even if history has taught me that more is a foolish thing to ask for.

Joshua Sheetz
Joshua Sheetz

Super Reviewer

Technically the eighth movie in a franchise spanning five different decades, I think every ticket buyer knows exactly what they are getting with Creed II. It's more of the same formula that's been packing in audiences because it works. Once again Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of the legendary Apollo Creed, climbs high, only to be brought low by a challenger, the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the man who killed his father in the ring. Once more he finds himself with something to prove, a personal score to settle that blinds him as a fighter. I was able to predict every major plot beat from early on, and that's beside the point. Creed II is at its peak performance when it offers small, well-developed character moments to go along with the training montages and boxing beat downs. Spending more time with the characters is where this movie elevates itself from the formula. There's a potently dramatic subplot where Adonis's wife, played by Tessa Thompson, worries that she may have past down her degenerative hearing loss their newborn child. There's a wordless scene of looks that explains everything over the course of an auditory test, and it's gut wrenching. I wasn't expecting the film to humanize the villains as well. Ivan has been living in shame since his loss to Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), cast out by the elites of his society, and his own wife walked out on him and his son. They both see this opportunity as a way to prove something to the woman who abandoned them and the country that turned its back. It's not just a scene either; the Russians (Ukrainians?) get the second biggest storyline of the movie. It made it so that I was genuinely having mixed emotions during the climactic bout, not wanting either side to really lose. Thatï¿ 1/2(TM)s solid writing, movie. The performances are uniformly strong (even Lundgren!) and the emotions build and build until it crescendos. Creed II likely wonï¿ 1/2(TM)t be the last in the franchise, and even though I can predict the sequel already, as long as the filmmakers find room to meaningfully flesh out these enjoyable and winning characters, Iï¿ 1/2(TM)m game. Nateï¿ 1/2(TM)s Grade: B

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

½

When it comes to the films in the Rocky franchise, you can pretty much predict how each film will end when the set-up takes place throughout the first act. This is both a positive and a negative that this franchise faces, due to the fact that the formula of these movies is about as perfect as you get when telling a story like this. When Creed hit theatres back in 2015, I was blown away in thinking that it was in the discussion of best films in the entire franchise. This was a tall order to follow in Creed II and while it doesn't quite hit every stride it needs to in order to be classified as one of the greats, I have very few complaints about this follow-up. This is the way you make a sequel. Young Adonis Creed's past isn't all sunshine and rainbows. His father having been killed by Ivan Drago in the fourth installment has him hellbent on a revenge kick when confronted with the opportunity to fight the son of the man who has put so much pain into his life. While this premise may just seem like a way of pleasing fans of the cheesy sequels in the past, it really isn't that at all. While the boxing matches are worth the wait, the heart on both sides of the ring is present this time around. With new obstacles to face in his personal life, the arc that Adonis goes through here was fantastic in my opinion. Michael B. Jordan continues to astound me when it comes to his performances on-screen. Even though he hasn't always been in award-worthy films, his performances have always been out of this world. Once again, he embodies this character with enough emotion and energy to carry this movie from start to finish. His chemistry with Tessa Thompson has carried over from the first film and even digs a little deeper this time around. Their relationship reaches new heights, as well as new lows here, which is very reminiscent of the way Rocky and Adrian were in the second Rocky movie. The emotional core to this overall story hasn't been lost and I loved every bit of drama as much as I loved the boxing matches, which were incredible as well. After Ryan Coogler departed as both writer and director (having done the first film), I found myself slightly concerned that the first would become lightning in a bottle, but that's not the case. Placed in the hands of Sylvester Stallone to write and given to newcomer Steven Caple Jr. to direct made for a nearly superior sequel in my opinion. The flare of this character was brought to the screen in the first in a very captivating way and that's not exactly captured here, but further explored. Taking the characters you love and expanding them is what a sequel is meant to do and this one did that beautifully. In the end, Creed II's only true weakness is the fact that it does feel formulaic at times. You can see where the film is headed most of the time, but that really doesn't take away from the fact that it's extremely effective. I found myself on the edge of my seat during the matches and in emotionally invested in the surprises throughout the course of the film. This truly does feel like the conclusion of certain chapters in this franchise, but I wouldn't mind seeing a third if it can be as well-done as these first two were. Creed II is a fantastic follow-up in my opinion and if you're a fan of this franchise, I highly recommend checking it out.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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